Beth Darnall, PhD
Clinical Associate Professor
Stanford University School of Medicine
Division of Pain Medicine
Stanford Systems Neuroscience and Pain Laboratory
APS Future Leader Grant Recipient Earns $8.8 Million Award from PCORI
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One such APS grant recipient, Beth Darnall, PhD, clinical professor of anesthesiology at Stanford University, publishes widely, gives numerous scientific talks, and earns significant media coverage as a leading expert in pain psychology and psychological alternatives for treating pain.
Dr. Darnall has 15 years of experience treating adults with chronic pain and lived through her own chronic pain experience. She helps patients with chronic pain gain control over mind and body and improve their overall quality of life.
She has authored three books and also writes a Psychology Today blog titled "Less Pain, Fewer Pills." She has been featured in several news outlets, such as ABC News, the Washington Post, Time Magazine, and Scientific American.
Perhaps Dr. Darnall's most noteworthy success occurred this year with news that the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) awarded an $8.8 million grant to a Stanford research team led by Dr. Darnall to test pain management strategies to help patients with chronic pain reduce their use of opioids.
PCORI Executive Director Joe Selby, MD MPH, a plenary session speaker at the 2017 APS Annual Scientific Meeting, said Darnall's project was awarded the grant "for its potential to fill an important gap in our understanding of long-term opioid therapy and give people with chronic pain useful information to help them weigh the effectiveness and safety of their care options."
"The study will compare the effectiveness of psychologist-led cognitive-behavioral therapy, peer-led chronic pain management classes, and no behavioral treatment," Darnall said. "The goal is to gauge the patient's interest and willingness to actively and collaboratively reduce opioid use." Dr. Darnall will discuss the PCORI project at the APS Scientific Summit in a presentation in March during the Psychosocial Research SIG meeting.
Dr. Darnall asserts that a major turning point in her career path occurred in 2007 when she received the APS Future Leaders in Pain Research Award for her work examining sex differences in pain catastrophizing and its influence on opioid prescribing.
"The APS Future Leaders in Pain Research Award validated my research approach and showed I was on the right track as a pain researcher in my first independent scientific endeavor," Darnall said. "It also alerted the faculty in my department that I was 'high potential'."
Recognizing the career development and enhancement benefits she enjoyed as a Future Leaders award recipient, Dr. Darnall strongly encourages young pain research investigators to submit their research projects for consideration for the 2019 award by the APS Future Leaders in Pain Research Award selection committee.
Established by APS in 2005, the Future Leaders in Pain Research Grant Program funds pain research projects of doctoral investigators who have not yet attained NIH RO-level funding. The grant program is intended to encourage pain research and allow investigators to develop pilot data to help them secure additional major grant funding for continued pain research.
On October 4, APS announced the 2018 Future Leaders in Pain Research grant recipients. Three APS awards of $25,000 are funded this year by the Mayday Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation.